In her new book Fear City: New York’s Fiscal Crisis and the Rise of Austerity Politics (Metropolitan Books, 2017), historian Kim Phillips-Fein tells the story of the 1975 financial crisis that engulfed New York City. When the news broke that New York City was on the brink of fiscal collapse, few believed it was possible. How could the country’s largest metropolis fail? How could the capital of the financial world go bankrupt? Yet the city was indeed billions of dollars in the red, with no way to pay back its debts. Bankers and politicians alike seized upon the situation as evidence that social liberalism, which New York famously exemplified, was unworkable. The city had to slash services, freeze wages, and fire thousands of workers, they insisted, or financial apocalypse would ensue. Continue reading
A new book by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former executive director of the Sierra Club Carl Pope illustrates some interesting uses of history.
Climate of Hope: How Cities, Business and Citizens Can Save the Planet (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2017) discusses how cities, businesses, and individuals can take action to confront global warming and improve the environment. There are lots of interesting examples and proposals. But these three themes may be of particular interest to readers of The New York History Blog. Continue reading
In the new book International Express: New Yorkers on the 7 Train (Columbia University Press, 2017) by Stéphane Tonnelat and William Kornblum, the French ethnographer Tonnelat and his collaborator Kornblum, a native New Yorker, ride the 7 subway line to better understand the intricacies of the New York City Transit Authority 7 subway.
Nicknamed the International Express, the New York City Transit Authority 7 subway line runs through a highly diverse series of ethnic and immigrant neighborhoods in Queens. People from Andean South America, Central America, China, India, Italy, Korea, Mexico, Pakistan, Poland, Romania, and Vietnam, as well as residents of a number of gentrifying blue-collar and industrial neighborhoods, fill the busy streets around the stations. The 7 train is a microcosm of a specifically urban, New York experience, in which individuals from a variety of cultures and social classes are forced to interact and get along with one another. For newcomers to the city, mastery of life in the subway space is a step toward assimilation into their new home. Continue reading
On Saturday, April 29, 2017 at 1 pm, the South Street Seaport Museum in New York City will celebrate its 50th anniversary. The celebrations will continue for an entire year (April 2017-April 2018) with special programming and exhibitions. Continue reading
Of all the world’s cities, perhaps none is so defined by its Art Deco architecture as New York. Anthony W. Robins’ new book New York Art Deco: A Guide to Gotham’s Jazz Age Architecture (SUNY Press, 2017) leads readers step-by-step past the monuments of the 1920s and 30s that recast New York as the world’s modern metropolis.
Robins’ new guide includes an introductory essay describing the Art Deco phenomenon, followed by eleven walking tour itineraries in Manhattan each accompanied by a map designed by New York cartographer John Tauranac and a survey of Deco sites across the four other boroughs. Also included is a photo gallery of sixteen color plates by Art Deco photographer Randy Juster. Continue reading
On Sunday, March 19, Roosevelt Island Historical Society president Judy Berdy will lead a tour of the three new Second Avenue Subway Stations in New York City: 72nd, 86th and 96th Streets.
This tour provides an opportunity to admire the artwork and innovation of this dramatic expansion of public transportation. Continue reading
Dr. Richard Haberstroh, author of German Churches in Metropolitan New York: A Research Guide, joined host Jane E. Wilcox on the Forget-Me-Not Hour podcast this week. Richard talked about Germans in the New York City metro area – their political and religious history in Germany, why they came to New York, where they settled, and what churches they organized here. Richard also discussed his book (published by the New York Genealogical & Biographical Society) and gave some tips on researching German ancestors in the New York City area.
Listen on-demand here. Continue reading
This week on The Historians Podcast, history teacher Doug Kaufman discusses the 1911 Triangle shirtwaist factory fire in New York City. Steve Jankowski of Broadalbin, NY, tells how he escaped from the scene of the 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York City. They spoke at an event sponsored by Amsterdam Reads on the historical novel “A Fall of Marigolds” by Susan Meissner. Listen to the podcast here. Continue reading
In the 19th century extremely violent conflicts took place between mostly Northern Irish Protestants (Orangemen) and Irish Catholics. The Orange Riot of 1870 began on July 12 (known as Marching Day in Northern Ireland), when a parade was held in Manhattan by Irish Protestants celebrating the victory at the Battle of the Boyne of William III, the King of England and Prince of Orange, over James II in 1690. Continue reading
In September of 1862, President Abraham Lincoln announced the Emancipation Proclamation. It would take effect January 1, 1863, and free slaves in areas of the nation still in rebellion against the Union. Despite its limitations, free blacks, slaves, and abolitionists across the country hailed it as one of the most important actions toward full abolition.
To immigrant New Yorkers (principally Irish) the Emancipation Proclamation was confirmation of their worst fears – that they would be replaced in the labor market by recently emancipated blacks from the South. Continue reading